NOBLE, Ga. – Prosecutors filed 102 more theft by deception charges Tuesday against the operator of a Georgia crematory accused of leaving hundreds of dead bodies to rot on the property.
Ray Brent Marsh had already been charged with 16 counts of theft by deception for allegedly taking money for cremations he never performed at Tri-State Crematory.
The new charges were brought several hours after a judge, saying there was no evidence the 28-year-old suspect was dangerous or posed a flight risk, set Marsh's bail at $100,000.
Marsh was still in jail Tuesday afternoon and could be arrested again if he makes bail.
The new counts were connected to 51 of the corpses found at Tri-State. For each body, one count was filed for taking money from the families, and another for not giving the ashes to the families, officials said.
So far, 339 corpses have been found on the crematory grounds, but investigators say more than half the property remains to be searched. Only 74 of the bodies have been identified.
Gov. Roy Barnes was notified Tuesday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will not give the state money for clean-up. FEMA Director Joe Allbaugh said "an emergency declaration is neither appropriate nor warranted."
Officials have said they cannot estimate the cost of the clean-up until all the bodies have been recovered, but believe it will surpass $10 million.
Also Tuesday, the House unanimously voted to make it a felony to abandon a body intended for cremation or burial. The bill now goes to the Senate.
Marsh has operated Tri-State in the northwest Georgia community of Noble since 1996 and prosecutors said Marsh should not be released because of the danger posed to him by community outrage. The operator's attorney, Ken Poston, said concern for Marsh's safety was no reason to deny bail.
Authorities said Monday it could be late summer before all the bodies are identified. Some workers, in their 11th day of scouring the grounds, are growing weary and occasionally sick as the emotional toll mounts.
"Everybody involved in this process, from the word go, is suffering some kind of emotional strain," said David Ashburn, the Walker County emergency director. "It's things that you and I were never meant to be exposed to."
Officials estimated they had searched only three or four acres of the Tri-State grounds, which comprise at least eight acres, excluding buildings and a small lake. Authorities are working on a plan to drain the lake.
Family members lined up Monday to give blood samples, hoping their DNA would help investigators identify more bodies.
Dr. Kris Sperry, the chief Georgia medical examiner, said a full database will not be complete until late summer.
"This is a very slow, time-consuming process because of the volume of tests that have to be done," he said.
Donating blood for a DNA test meant fresh grief for Elaine Bray of Chattanooga, Tenn., who arrived at the county civic center down the road from Tri-State with a mug of small pebbles — part of which she thought were the remains of her brother, who died four years ago.
"All I wanted to do is give him a proper death," she said. "This is what I got."
Eddie Young of Crystal River, Fla., said he hoped DNA testing might tell him for sure whether the body of his mother, who died in November, was left to decompose on the grounds of the crematory.
"I know her soul went to heaven, but to think that my mother might be out there — it's so hard to accept," he said. "We had our closure through the funeral, and now it's like it's reopened."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.